It has been claimed in the past that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. Factors may include anxiety caused by naturally-fluctuating female hormones, a work environment in Japan that still makes it difficult for women to work, conflicts arising from relationships within the family, or memories of childhood trauma. Compounding this, recent research suggests that women’s mental health has been further negatively impacted under the COVID-19 pandemic. If we suspect the mental health of someone close to us is deteriorating, whether in the family or at work, how should we go about responding?
In this newsletter, we speak to Dr. Yoshiko Orito of the Yoyogi no Mori Clinic, who has been involved in women’s mental health for many years, about the issues surrounding women’s mental health and specific measures to deal with them. Dr. Orito’s profile may be found at the end.
岩下裕司Women’s mental health advice from a medical practitioner in the field The importance of creating a supportive atmosphere for those experiencing mental health issues
As COVID-19 infections continue to spread, the pandemic is bringing about other problems in Japan with deteriorating mental health among women and increased rates of suicide. It’s believed that this may be attributed to an increase in domestic abuse, heavier burden of domestic responsibilities, such as housework, childcare and nursing care, as well as escalating financial pressures, including job loss and reduced income.
Solving gender inequality demands cutting to the core of the issue and directly tackling the structural problems that put women in vulnerable positions. However, striving for gender equality means recognizing that there is an overlooked part of society where both men are women are struggling. Dr. Haruka Sakamoto, Senior Manager at the Health and Global Policy Institute highlights this issue when she notes that domestic work still tends to fall upon women due to outdated beliefs that men should be working hard outside of the home with society negatively judging men who prioritize domestic work over their careers. Women are pressured to stay at home, while men are made to work long hours on their paid jobs. Such a society makes life difficult for both women and men.
岩下裕司The current state of women’s mental health in Japan How should we respond to deepening challenges brought about by the pandemic?
In this issue, we highlight the road to good health as experienced by women, and the growing interest in femtech. In particular, we set out to raise awareness of the following challenges, solutions, and key learnings:
Encouraging discussion on women’s health
Conversations with experts in the field
Innovative solutions in Japan
Positive outcomes for women’s health
The path forward
When it comes to recognizing the connection between women’s health and community, perhaps Michelle Obama said it best, “Communities are only as strong as the health of their women.”1
Kumi Sato, Cosmo Public Relations Corporation (“COSMO”) President and CEO, “I believe that we still have a long way to go in ensuring there is more focus on Women’s Health. To advance earlier diagnosis and appropriate treatment, Diagnostics and Medical Devices will be increasingly important.”
岩下裕司Spotlight on Women’s Health in Japan: The role of femtech in the lives of women
COSMO is one of Japan’s leading independent strategic communication consultancies.
Established in 1960, COSMO was a pioneer in the field of public relations in Japan. Today, we continue to shape the communication landscape in the fields of Healthcare, Food & Food Science, and Consumer Goods & Services.